While festive markets in the UK have become incredibly popular in recent years, why not consider creating incredible festive memories and plan a visit to Christmas markets in Europe this year?

Not only will you get to enjoy a seasonal getaway filled with twinkling lights, steaming mugs of mulled wine, and unique Christmas treasures –

We say, look beyond the familiar and embark on a European adventure to discover the magic of Christmas markets this year!

Here, the Christmas.co.uk team take a closer look at the festive delights of some of the best European Christmas markets to visit.

Top tips for a sparkling European Christmas market jaunt

While , that are usually based on the established European Christmas market tradition, why not visit the real thing where many markets boast a long-standing tradition, often dating back centuries?

Each city infuses its market with its distinct culture and local attractions, creating a kaleidoscope of festive experiences.

From the fairytale lights of Prague to the hearty Hungarian goulash at Budapest’s markets, prepare to be enchanted by the diversity on offer.

But before you go, read these tips to ensure everything goes as planned!

  • Dates: Christmas markets typically run from late November to the end of December, with some extending into early January. Research opening dates to avoid disappointment
  • Weather: Unless you want to buy a festive hat and gloves while visiting a European market it’s worth checking the weather before you go. We can recommend the BBC weather site or the Met Office page for destinations in Europe. From experience, a lot of cities in central and eastern Europe get snow in December and the temperatures are often lower than in the UK. We mention a YouTube video from ‘Travels of Sarah Fay‘ who highlights that travelling from Florida to Munich in winter left her unprepared for the change in temperature and weather!
  • Stay: You will discover from our individual city market guides that we cover where to stay, how to get there, what to do and what the public transport offering is like
  • Money Our list of top European Christmas market destinations includes great cities that aren’t in the Eurozone so some offer great value for money including Sweden, Hungary, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia
  • Tasty: Don’t just travel to a market and stick to mulled wine! Each market boasts regional specialities – from gingerbread hearts in Nuremberg to steaming bowls of goulash in Budapest. Trust us when we say be adventurous in your tastes, you won’t regret it!
  • Support: Christmas markets are a treasure trove of unique handicrafts. Look for hand-blown ornaments in Germany, intricate lace in Bruges, or locally knitted scarves in Scandinavia.

And don’t forget that while there will be a lot of food and drink to enjoy, not to overindulge so pacing yourself is key!

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ARE THESE THE BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN EUROPE? 44 Magical European Xmas Markets to Visit!

This is an interesting video from Happy to Wander with a round-up of Europe’s best Christmas markets.

She covers the most popular destinations in 31 minutes and has some good takes on what the main attractions are, reasons to visit and what to do when you are there.

While she starts with London, she says that the capital has a lot of attractions, but its festive markets don’t quite compare.

The list takes in Paris, the cosiest is Winchester [LINK] and Madrid with its unusual ‘Christmas market scene’.

The video’s top five – to spoil the fun of its countdown is Colmar in France; Munich in Germany; Strasbourg in France; Cologne in Germany is in second place and the top spot for Happy to Wander’s best European Christmas market is … Dresden in Germany.

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Unveiling the must-visit Christmas markets in Europe

European Christmas markets stand out for their historical settings, often in medieval squares, and their focus on local traditions and artisanal crafts.

Each market reflects its city’s character, offering a distinct atmosphere and specialised products.

The Christmas.co.uk team has written features on these European Christmas markets to help you decide which will deliver a great festive experience:

  • Munich: Bavaria’s capital has the famed Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz – the city’s main square – with a giant Christmas tree. It’s one of the oldest Christmas markets but it is one of the best. Don’t miss out on the markets in the Old Town which includes the Medieval offering. There’s so much to see and do here – and the city has lots of other attractions to enjoy too.
  • Berlin: With around a hundred (yes, really!) markets scattered across the city, Berlin offers something for everyone. From the historical charm of Gendarmenmarkt to the festive atmosphere at Alexanderplatz, complete with an ice rink and Ferris wheel views, there’s a lively mix of the modern and traditional.
  • Nuremberg: Step back in time at Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany’s (and the world’s) oldest and most famous. Unlike its rivals, the organisers cherish tradition and authenticity, so there are lots of unique arts and crafts. There’s also the traditional ‘Christkind’ which sees a local young woman being chosen to play the Christmas Angel.
  • Cologne: The majestic Cologne Cathedral provides a stunning backdrop to this bustling market. Visitors will get to experience culture, festive cheer and tradition. There’s a lot to like about the festive markets in Cologne, and though they do get busy at peak times, this is a city worth visiting.
  • Salzburg: A unique offering – where you are practically guaranteed snow! – the markets offer a picture-perfect setting. The main market is in the shadow of Hohensalzburg fortress and the other markets make this a worthwhile trip. Enjoy Austrian food and drink and great hospitality in a stunning setting.
  • Vienna: From the Christmas market at Wiener Christkindlmarkt, to the lovely event at Rathausplatz, Vienna has just about everything to enjoy a festive trip. The Vienna Christmas markets are worth visiting because they have a lot to offer and are set in historic squares or courtyards. At night, the festive lights help create a very special destination that will deliver memories to cherish.
  • Budapest: Enjoy several Budapest Christmas markets in this fascinating city. There’s a lot to see and do and from thermal baths, ice skating, enjoy great food and the lovely atmosphere of the markets. There are three main markets that are easy to get to, plus a few more for adventurous types! With cheap flights to Budapest and cheaper prices for food and drink, this is a city that celebrates the festivities in style!
  • Prague: Be enchanted with the fairytale ambiance of Prague’s Christmas markets. We think this is one the prettiest markets in Europe and the Old Town Square market is a wonderland of twinkling lights, nativity scenes and towering Christmas trees. Sip on steaming mugs of svařené víno (Czech mulled wine) and enjoy a warm trdelník (pastry chimney cone) filled with sweet treats.
  • Strasbourg: The city’s Grande Île Christmas Market is a dazzling wonderland with an impressive festive atmosphere, packed with handcrafted ornaments, indulging in Alsatian specialties like foie gras and bredele (iced biscuits). There are 13 markets in this stylish city. We also like the giant Christmas tree adorned with sparkling decorations.
  • Gothenburg: Experience a traditional Swedish julmarknad (Christmas market) in Gothenburg. Liseberg amusement park transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with a Christmas market offering handcrafted gifts, traditional glögg (mulled wine), and heart-shaped gingerbread cookies.
  • Copenhagen: Discover the Hygge charm of Copenhagen’s Christmas markets. Explore the Tivoli Gardens market, a wonderland of twinkling lights, or stroll through the magical Højbro Plads market, located by the picturesque Copenhagen harbour. Sample warm æbleskiver (apple fritters) dusted with powdered sugar and sip on a cup of gløgg (mulled wine) for a truly festive experience.
  • Tallinn (Estonia): Step back in time at Tallinn’s Christmas market in its medieval surroundings. The enchanting setting of the city’s Town Hall Square provides the perfect backdrop for browsing handcrafted ornaments, indulging in warm Estonian mulled wine (glögi), and enjoying traditional Estonian gingerbread cookies (piparkoogid).
  • Brussels: Immerse yourself in the festive spirit at Brussels’ Winter Wonders market. Explore the magical setting of the Grand Place, adorned with a dazzling light show, or wander through the charming chalets offering local Belgian specialties like waffles, chocolates and steaming mugs of Belgian beer.
  • Bruges: Bruges’ enchanting canals provide a picturesque backdrop for its relatively small but cosy Christmas market. Sip on Belgian hot chocolate as you explore the stalls brimming with local crafts, lace and delectable Belgian chocolates.
  • Krakow: Discover the magic of Christmas amidst the historical beauty of Krakow at one of Europe’s best-rated markets. The Main Market Square boasts a giant Christmas tree and beautifully decorated stalls offering traditional Polish folk art, nativity scenes and an abundance of delicious regional treats like pierogi (dumplings) and oscypek (smoked sheep’s cheese).

 

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16 Tips I Wish I Knew Before Visiting European Christmas Markets

While the Christmas.co.uk team will be offering tips on what to see, stay and enjoy at various European Christmas markets, this video will be an eye opener for some.

Here, Camden Dave offers travel tips he has learned the ‘hard way’.

His first tip is to take cash – even though we live in a near cashless society. He says that bathrooms tend to need cash if you want to visit one! You also need cash for the deposit on mugs for hot chocolate and mulled wine.

He also mentions how expensive some markets are and why you should check the tags on items – not everything is locally made, even for artisan and artist markets.

He also highlights that most European cities have multiple markets – and they aren’t all the same.

The video is aimed at American tourists, but there’s a lot of good advice for all travellers in it.

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Embrace the festivities with a European Christmas market adventure

With careful planning and these handy tips, you’re sure to have an unforgettable Christmas getaway filled with festive cheer, cultural exploration and delicious treats.

You will find the Christmas.co.uk guides to each festive market hugely helpful as they are packed with tips and advice to make the most of your trip.

So, pack your bags, grab your warmest scarf, and get ready to experience the magic of Christmas markets across Europe!